As you all know it’s Janet Jackson Weekend! To kick it off, I connected with Desha Rose, Music Journalist and Lover, who has graciously blessed us with not one, but three curated playlists all about Our Sensual Supreme.
Janet has always been thee Sensual Supreme for me. It started with Rhythm Nation. I just knew I wanted to be her, but when Janet dropped it was over for me. The agency, the clarity of self, the pleasure and the Black beauty, what! Don’t get me started on the movement. I toiled over every move until I got it down! I’m so excited for this ritual of a documentary. She’s birthed most of our faves, and I’m grateful for everything she stands for, truly!
And for the record, I still don’t fuck with Buster Timberfuckboy.
Now, without further ado…
Please enjoy Desha’s musical offerings and enjoy Part 1 tonight:
Janet: The Sensual Supreme
By Desha Rose
I will never forget the first time I really came face to face with Janet. I was about 10 and my mother and I went to the mall and found a 2 disc set on sale with the Velvet Rope and All for You tour DVDs. We went home and put on the Velvet Rope tour, a tour that opens with Janet, in all her suit and top hat clad glory, proclaiming,
“We all have the need to feel special. This need has brought you here, this need has brought me here. We were all born with specialness inside. So tonight, let go, and let it shine bright.”
Over the course of a two-hour performance, and subsequently, the next nearly two decades of my life Janet would help me identify this need, learn what it feels like, how to nurture and feed it, and let it shine.
I always joke that everything I know about my sexuality I learned from Janet, and as I go on my travels and navigate black womanhood, I realize that my music nerd joke is nothing short of the truth. Before I was even a thought in this universe, Janet had liberated millions of black women’s minds, spirits and sexualities through the radical act of liberating her own and being brave enough to share it with us. As I came of age and into my knowledge of self and my sensual power, Janet’s massive body of work was always there to teach me.
As I learned my body and how to feel sexy, I had Janet’s visuals and gift of movement to learn from. As I became sexually active and fumbled and stumbled my way to finding my lane, finding my voice, finding my power, Janet’s music, messages and affirmations were there. As I learned lessons the hard way and came face to face with my insecurities and the many lies I had told myself in my own voice that I had to unlearn, Janet was there reminding me “you cannot run, for you can’t hide from you.” and comby welcoming me behind her own tangled velvet ropes. By doing nothing other than living her life, expressing herself boldly and intentionally through music, dance, and film, Janet taught me and so many black femmes so much.
Through Janet’s music black women were able to see and hear what it looked and sounded like to navigate Control and agency of their bodies and sexualities. Doing what Father says and letting Mother mold you can only go but so far, Janet taught us. She firmly proclaimed that having her own mind and making her own decisions was a priority and never wavered.
Janet taught us in order to firmly harness control, you cannot skip the step of getting right with yourself, and you cannot sacrifice your needs for the pleasure and gain of others. Janet modeled setting boundaries succinctly and making it look sexy:
“If I was your girl, oh, the things I’d do to you.
But I’m not.
So I can’t
And I won’t.”
Janet taught us what it looked like to demand effort and to put her needs on the table. Janet taught us how to be very clear and direct about our needs. Say my name. A little louder. A little softer. Don’t get too soft and gentle with it. Make love to me with more passion, like you want to in your fantasies. Actually, let’s wait a while. But when we do, I don’t want to stop just because people are watching. Janet taught us to be vocal, how to give feedback, how to encourage our partners to listen and learn our bodies with informed intention. Janet taught us about the principle of pleasure and to not compromise on our time, our worth, or our standards. Janet taught us that having control is a priority, consent is a must, and femme can have what they want and what they need, so long as they harness their agency and make it so.
Janet taught us how to navigate behind the Velvet Rope of desire and vulnerability. Behind the confident and decisive siren we strive to portray, is a sensual coquette with a soft spot for romance and a desire for fulfilling and tender experiences. Janet taught us empathy and to be more generous to our emotional needs, and to require the same of our lovers. Janet taught us that we are always worth the wait, and to not feel shame for taking our time. Janet taught us the way love goes, how to set the mood, and how to savor the moment. Janet taught us that with trust, love, and communication, you can open up so many doors to sensual connection and closeness with yourself and with your partners.
Janet taught us about kisses, candlelight, and tender caresses. Janet taught us yearning, anticipation, and foreplay. Janet taught us how to tell our lovers that someday is tonight and when we connect, we won’t get any sleep. Janet helped us learn how to affirm our partners strengths, how to communicate what works and what doesn’t, and that we deserve to feel pleasure. Janet taught us that we deserve lovers with patience, lovers who pay attention, lovers who we love to love. Janet taught us that time flies when you have fun. Janet taught us how to hold space for our need to feel real special and that it is okay to need an extra hug, just one more kiss, and a little more than a little pillowtalk. Janet helped many of us get in touch with our inner soft, the part of us so many of us fight tirelessly to protect, our Velvet.
Through Janet, we learned how to be Nasty. Not “call her Ms. Jackson” nasty, but Nasty. Janet helped us locate and liberate our inner freak. Janet taught us where throbbing came from. Janet taught us that there’s nothing wrong with needing to put someone on speakerphone if your hands are busy. Janet taught us how fun and refreshing it could be to talk about sex with our friends. Janet taught us to show off, to moan loud (real loud), and go all nite. Janet taught us how to do those little things they like. Janet taught us how to let our partners fantasize until they crumble:
“Allow me some time to play with your mind, and you’ll get there again and again.”
Janet taught us there is nothing that compares to the warmth of our mouths and that if you keep feelin, ticklin, and swimmin’ in it, you might need a life jacket. Janet taught us to ask our partners if they mind if we bathe them, rub them, caress them, kiss them, suck them, taste them, ride them, knowing damn well that they absolutely won’t. Janet taught us that sometimes we need discipline in the form of… well, whatever Daddy wants. Janet taught us we will never make those nasty fantasies come true if we spend our whole lives afraid to sit down and get to know them, let alone ask for them. Janet told us not to give a damn what they think about it either.
To sum up all that our Sensual Supreme has taught us in her unparalleled and incomparable body of work, I offer you three playlists to enjoy whenever you need that extra push to tap into your divine feminine.
Play Control for odes to agency, when you need to get in touch with your dominance, when you need the push to be more direct. Play Control when you’re trying to figure out how to tell them the price went up. Play Control when you need to be reminded of your power.
Play Velvet when you have a special need, when you’re feeling soft, plush, warm , sweet, tender, and gushy. Play Velvet when your favorite partner(s) is on the way, as you rub on your oils and adorn your body with lace, silk, and gold. Play Velvet while you cuddle.
Play Nasty when you want to feel wet, erotic, uncensored, uninhibited, and filthy. Play Nasty when the only thing that is still open is legs. Play Nasty with your toys chargared.
I hope you enjoy my offering to you and find new things to learn from our sensual supreme, the one and only, Janet.